Pair of Monday Night NCAA Basketball Picks

Steven Suarez

Monday, January 5, 2015 9:09 PM GMT

Which two games should we target when preparing our college basketball picks? Find out which matchups we believe hold the most appetizing value for NCAA Basketball handicappers.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish may have only lost one game this season, but that doesn't appear to hold much weight for NCAA basketball betting oddsmakers. They've listed Notre Dame as a sizable 8.5-point dog for tonight's game against North Carolina. These are two prolific offenses going at it tonight, so we totally get the high total of 147.

Our preview starts with Notre Dame, who kicked off ACC play with a thrilling double overtime win over Georgia Tech. It was the Fighting Irish's 10th consecutive win - they've gone on a roll since their one and only loss, a 20-point shellacking at the hands of Providence on a neutral court. The cherry on top of the win streak has to be the overtime win over Michigan State at home back in early December. Jerian Grant leads the team with 17.9 PPG and 6.2 APG, but Zach Auguste, Demetrius Jackson and Patt Connaughton are each averaging at least 13.7 points per game as well, This is one of the country's most elite offensive teams in the country, ladies and gentlemen.

Then there's North Carolina, who hasn't been too shabby either. The Tar Heels are on a five-game winning streak of their own, which was topped off by a eight-point victory over Ohio State and a recent 74-50 demolition of Clemson in their conference opener. It's hard to pinpoint one or two guys for Roy Williams' team, as they've been getting production from numerous places, just like the Fighting Irish.

For our college basketball picks tonight, it's certainly not an easy call. However, we're not all that impressed with Notre Dame's non-conference schedule. The Tar Heels, on the other hand, have played a ton of great programs already this season, and if you read my columns, you know I'm a fan of teams that are battle-tested. With that frame of thought in mind, we'll be recommending that readers add North Carolina to their NCAA Basketball picks here.

NCAAB Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels -8.5

Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
And here we have another fantastic conference showdown involving two ranked teams, with this version featuring the Sooners and Longhorns. Current NCAA Basketball odds show Texas favored by 6.5 points, with a total wavering in the 135-137 range depending on the sportsbook. 

The Longhorns check in at 12-2 overall, with their only two losses coming to #1-ranked Kentucky and in overtime against Stanford. Probably Texas' most notable victory this season came against Connecticut, and the Longhorns also opened up Big 12 play in style by overcoming Texas Tech on the road. One of the better rebounding teams in the nation, Texas has been leaning on the likes of Jonathan Holmes and Myles Turner mostly, but the recent return of Isaiah Taylor has helped.

As for the Sooners, they've picked up three straight wins, their most recent coming against a ranked Baylor team. In the 73-63 win at home, Oklahoma got big-time efforts from Buddy Hield and TaShawn Thomas. Hield had 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Thomas poured in 24 points and added eight boards as well as a block and steal for good measure. Hield, Thomas, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler have been great for the Sooners thus far, while Jordan Woodard has been steady out on the perimeter. 

We're going to switch gears a bit to wrap up our picks and focus in on a total. We're going to have a lot of talent on the floor in this matchup, and we expect a relatively high-paced, closely-contested game, meaning the OVER holds the most appeal. This should be a terrific game, so don't miss it.

NCAAB Pick: OVER 135